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Rivet leading edge ribs


Active Member
The instructions say there is enough room to rivet the completed leading edge wing ribs to the spar. I can see getting to the two outermost ribs, and maybe the next most outboard through the spar hole. But how the heck can you rivet the others? I can get my hands down there, but how do you find a rivet, and keep a bucking bar on a rivet if you can't see it? Just wondering what others did. Pulled rivets instead?

I did. I asked the Mother Ship. They said I could use LP4-3 and LP4-4. I think. I can look up the e-mail if needed.

It wasn't driving the rivets that bothered me. It was the thought of drilling a bad one. With my short arms it would have been a struggle.
Do a search, there are other threads on this topic.
Quick hints:
1. Easier with two people. Insert rivet from aft, helps if person bucking has small hands/arms. Tanks must be off. Person bucking must be able to buck by feel.
2. I did mine solo, small hands and arms. Went thru lightening holes in spar and lightening holes in nose ribs on the ends. Bottom skin must be off.
3. I used a wooden alignment jig to hold the tungsten bucking bar (must have) aligned with the rivet end.
4. I used a long (12") rivet set in my rivet gun. This allowed the gun to touch the adjacent rib and still be well aligned with the rivet. I was unable to get an offset rivet set to work.
two people. Insert rivet from aft, helps if person bucking has small hands/arms. Tanks must be off. Person bucking must be able to buck by feel.

I was QB, so a lot less riveting than for the SB. However, pretty much all of the last bottom skin rivets are bucked blind if doing it yourself and some of them are at the extreme limit of your arms length. Suggest you start learning techniques for using finger tips as eyes, as more of this is in your future. I did my wing bottoms solo, so it can be done. I think I had 5 or 10 rivets that required a helper. You hold the bar with two or three fingers and use your index finger to find the rivet and get the bar positioned over it. Then use the two outside fingers to get it parallel to the skin. When blind, I like to move the rivet in and out to be sure I got the bar and the gun on the same rivet.

Bucking rivets is a learned technique, shoot a few thousand and you'll be able to do it with your eyes closed. In my opinion the more talented riveter should be on the bucking side.
Yea it’s do-able. My arm got pretty scratched up though from squeezing it through all the lightening holes. I suppose if you were fairly portly it might be an issue.
Also used some LP's after a search of the forums and seeing that it was Van's approved. I wish I knew where (and what type) pull rivets where acceptable as there as a few places that just aren't worth the effort (IMHO) if it's only to save a few $$$ or for looks.
Thanks for the responses. I'll ask Vans. My Sonex is nearly 100% pulled rivets, so I'm sure the right ones will work fine for the ribs.